The National Fruit Show has always been about bringing together all the right people, for meetings, for business and to talk about the issues of the day.
There are some really big issues to be addressed this year so we are delighted to announce that the farming union will be with us in strength. Opening the Show will be NFU Deputy President Minette Batters – she will be with us for much of Day One, along with Ali Capper, Hort board Chair; Hayley Campbell Gibbons, Chief Hort Advisor, and Amy Gray, Hort Advisor.
This same team has been leading our sector’s representation to Defra over the post-Brexit situation, campaigning to ensure that we have sufficient labour to support our industry.
Ali Capper has given National Fruit Show News a taster of Minette’s Show-opening address:
‘The NFU has published its Vision for labour post-Brexit, yet, our latest labour-provider survey reveals some worrying, but not entirely unexpected trends of falling numbers of workers, fewer returnees and higher turnover rates that are creating pressure on farm now.
We need a commitment from government that growers will have access to the workforce they need up to, and after, we leave the EU. March 2019 will be too late for any decisions to be forthcoming on immigration policy. Growers need confidence now that they will be able to recruit next year and beyond.
It’s vital that any Immigration Bill recognises the crucial importance of migration for low-skilled work. Until now, high-skilled migration has received priority treatment. We challenge why this should be the case, when vital sectors of the economy – such as food and drink – rely heavily on large numbers of EU workers.’
Want to get the full story? Then be at the National Fruit Show, in the Maidstone Pavilion, at 10.00 on Day One. See you there!